Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Enough with The Cake already!

Well last weekend, I finally had enough time to finish up Portal, and what a fantastic ending. It was surprising to me that a game so focused on puzzles could have a solid storyline, and a great soundtrack(specifically referring to the song within the end credits). I cannot stress enough how enjoyable this game was, I cannot wait to get the time to play through the bonus levels, and I simply cannot imagine that the community will not come up with some great maps.

And while the fall quarter at school is ramping up, and I'm swamped with work as usual, my roommate just had to go and purchase Bioshock. Now toward the end of the summer I played a little bit at a friends house, but never really got to the meat of the game(past level two). But now that I've been able to really sit down and play, I've fallen in love with it(that scary kind of love, like you aren't sure if some crazy lunatic isn't going to pop up behind you when the lights are off, that kind of love). I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys spooky first person shooters, and crazy twisted metal golems with spider eyes.

Big Daddy

In other news, yesterday I finally received my official FanFaire 2007 t-shirt, and in my size! When I attended FanFaire over the summer, they did not have my size, and asked me to fill out a form, include my email address, and size. I almost thought they had forgotten about me until three weeks ago when I received an email from SOE telling me that they had received a new shipment, and were going to send it to me. It is a little thing, I know, but it just made me feel good, knowing that I hadn't been left in the dust.

Of course with "The Orange Box", not only was Portal included, but also the revamp of the classic Team Fortress, aptly named Team Fortress2. Oh what fun it is! My friends and I have had a fantastic time blowing each others heads off, over and over again. The graphics are fantastic, and very in the spirit of The Incredibles. Again if you haven't, and you have the means, you should check out "The Orange Box", it is an incredible value. Also my Steam user name is "Chestone", if you see me on send me an invite, I love playing with new people. Well it is now time to finish this paper I've been procrastinating with so badly.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things that make you go Oh!(GU #39)

Well this week brought upon the release of GU #39 in EverQuest2(release notes here). And with it comes the ominous "Shard of Fear", which is essentially a small portion of the larger Plane of Fear that we are all so familiar with from EQ1.


Just looking at this screenshot I get goosebumps. The blood red rain, and the wall of fire, it all brings back such fond memories of my first real raiding experiences. It really makes me wish Chestone was level 70 and actually in a guild, just to experience what looks to be a pretty amazing zone. Alas Chestone will have to wait his turn, as he is only level 35.

Still there were other things in the patch aside from new zones. One thing I noticed last night as I was tearing it up in Crushbone Keep, was that they had finally separated out buffs and debuffs out into their own windows. This is certainly a welcome change as it sort of annoyed me for awhile. There were many other changes in the patch, guild banks, and all sorts of things that I havn't really gotten to play with yet, see the patch notes for official details. Well back to work for me, I have to have this form working and a whole bunch of other things by five this afternoon, later everyone.

P.S. Over at MMOQuests there is a great write up of their first time in the zone. I also stole the screenshot from there, just wanted to give credit.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Metaplace Scripting

I think I'm a serious nerd, last night I had a dream about writing scripts for a Metaplace game and thinking "Wow this is so great!". The game/service hasn't even come out yet and I'm already dreaming of writing code! I'm way too excited about this. Sean Riley, lead programmer at Areae for Metaplace has made a pretty insightful blog post about their goals and philosophy of scripting in MetaScript. It is a must read for any would-be Metaplace coders, and gives great insight into what we can look forward to in creating our mini virtual worlds.

I have to say as a Python junkie, I am a little saddened that they didn't go the py route, or even Ruby, but Lua isn't so bad. I did a little work with Lua in some Warcraft mods I wrote and it was alright, so I am still pretty jazzed about the whole thing. And really I shouldn't be surprised the game industry as a whole has been Lua crazy and for good reason.


Portal? Yeah its amazing!

Wow, if you havn't already picked up "The Orange Box" from Valve, just do it, there are so many reasons. The biggest in my mind is the short but incredibly fun puzzle game Portal. Though I'd love to go into excruciating detail, I really want to get back to playing the game right now. So let this video suffice.

BTW, there is cake.


Wait, which instance are you in?

I have to complain about the seriously irritating problem in EQ2, where you are grouped with other members and when you enter a city not via physically walking into the zone(aka recalling, instance zoning, like houses) and if the city exists in multiple instances your group has a roll of the dice to see if it is broken up or not, without any pop-up dialog to choose which the user would like to enter. This has happened to me and my groups many times where I'm in Neriak instance one and they are in Neriak instance two after recalling or zoning from our houses back out to the city. While entering a city via just walking in you are given a dialog to choose. This is very frustrating and though you can deal with it, you shouldn't have to. Meeting up with other players in town shouldn't be this frustrating especially if you are already in a group. If you are in a group I'd like to think that the game would intelligently place you both in the same instance as that would probably be a good idea and is a pretty reasonable expectation on the part of the user.



Saturday, October 6, 2007

Legends of Norrath, I weep for what could have been.

Now this isn't about an overpowered card combo, or a rule misstep, it is that the biggest problem as I see it with Legends of Norrath(The recently released in-game card game from SOE) is that I can't play it! Well I should be more specific, I have to jump through hoops to play what should be a universally accessible card game.
There are two ways to play LoN:

  • While inside of EverQuest or EverQuest2 you can launch the LoN client software and play from within the game.

  • From stand alone client software that must be installed and run on a Windows PC

Now this probably covers 90% of those who wish to play LoN, but I am in the minority here. I'm a mac user. And its safe to say that SOE will never release a mac client(especially after their half attempt at EQ mac development). So what you are cutting out the mac users, oh well. Well really it is much more than that, you are cutting anyone who doesn't have admin on their machine(aka the working public), this is a serious chunk of folks who on their lunch break or downtime might play a game or two. Oh and those "linux" users out there, whoever they are...(internet sarcasm, I run linux on a few boxes).

This is a problem, both for SOE and for the potential users, what oh what could solve this catastrophe? Well in today's day and age we have this thing called "Internet" and the "Web" oh and "Standards complaint browsers"(the last one sort of). And with all of that fancy "Web 2.0" out there, why can't we just use a little bit of that black magic and have a web client for Legends of Norrath? I sincerely wish they would, I understand with the web comes a whole load of issues that are a pain in the neck, but SOE would seriously open up their possible customers by doing this, and in turn please me. Well I can just BootCamp it up to play, but really who wants to reboot their computer just to play a card game? Especially if you are just a casual player. So please SOE, just think about it, besides its what all of the cool kids are doing, web clients that is.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

RoK Box Art, Shard of Fear, what news!

Well it has been quite a busy week in the EQ2 world(aka Norrath). With the new box art for their all in one retail box, and the GU39 going live to test, including the Shard of Fear!

First the box art:
eq2 retail box art

What can I say? Bad fucking ass! As a huge Dark Elf fan I can say that I almost wish I waited to pick up the box, I just love it. Though I think it is an interesting departure from their previous "all in one" box art which generally focused on the latest expansion(i.e. Echos of Faydwer, Kingdom of Sky). But this is an all in one box(meaning all expansions are included with the game), so it is a lot less about the latest expansion and more about the entire game itself, so I don't see a big issue with it, all in all good job SOE.

What can you really say about the Shard of Fear, except it looks amazing from these screens(Oh and these too!). All in all, I think the zone in context is pretty amazing(keeping in mind it is supposed to be a mini Plane of Fear from EQ1). The flesh colored dragon definetly looks a little weak, though I like the direction they are going with the decaying flesh thing(maybe draco got a skin graft?), it is something I really hope will change before release as I can just hear the bitching from the haters now. Shard of Fear(soon to be abbreviated to SoF) is a persistent instance just like Emerald Halls and Unrest currently, and will be a single level 70 group zone. And though it seems the Amygedons went on a diet, I am still pleased with how they look even if they had to downsize the temple a bit along the way. All of this just gets me more excited about EQ2 and its direction. I just hope that once the nostalgia trip is over we can expect some more original content in the far future, not to say I'm upset with the direction, I just hope it doesn't become a crutch.

Well back to school work again, it seems as if I'll never get to 70 before the expansion. Maybe someday...


Monday, October 1, 2007


Well I wrote a post a few days ago about my Halo 3 binging, but unfortunately Blogger lost that post and I don't really feel the need to rehash a weeks old excitement for a game that is so overexposed I think it is almost to the point of irony. Never the less, my review(the digested digest version), it wraps up the series well, nothing exciting, extremely well polished(industry buzz word of the year!), and a lot of fun for any fps fan.


Other than Halo, I've been busy with midterms, projects, weddings(not mine, thank god), parties, and sleeplessness. I've been trying to get in some good ol' EQ2 time in, but those times have been few and far between. And with "The Orange Box" being released so soon I doubt I'll have a whole lot of time to return to Norrath at least until this weekend. Oh and god forbid I not mention that Phantom Hourglass is also being released this week! I am pretty sure that the gaming industry is making a final Coup de grĂ¢ce on gamer's social lives everywhere.